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Get the latest version of Microsoft Office for $12 per month

With the release of Office 365, Microsoft introduced an entirely new way to buy Microsoft Office – with a monthly subscription.

Microsoft Office is deeply imbedded in the workday of millions of businesses. Without a doubt, it's the de-facto standard for word processing and everyone has been subjected to PowerPoint presentations. So when Microsoft releases a new version of Office, there is a huge potential base of uses that can benefit. And even with a large number of significant improvements, the costs of updating to a new version of Office can be more than a business on a budget can justify.

You can buy Microsoft Office 2010 from retail stores, online and through special programs offered by Microsoft such as volume licensing and partner programs, but with the release of Office 365, Microsoft introduced an entirely new way to buy Microsoft Office. You can now buy the Microsoft's Office Professional Plus (called Office Pro Plus or OPP for short) for $12 per user per month. With this subscription you get the latest and greatest version of Office 2010 with all the bells and whistles and you can install it on up to five devices per user.

Office Pro Plus

There are a lot of advantages to the Office Professional Plus subscription, not the least of which is that you reduce your upfront expense for software. Paying by the month, you know exactly what your software costs will be. This subscription based pricing is available from Microsoft as a standalone offer, or as part of Office 365 services.

Office Pro Plus includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, SharePoint Workspace and Lync. Note: at this time, the link above also states that Business Contact Manager is part of the deal, but that is evidently not correct.

So how does this work? Starting on the Office Pro Plus page at you click Buy Now. This starts the sign up process which is same as the Office 365 sign up process described in my previous TechRepublic Blog post. During this process you will create a login user name and password that you use to access the Office Portal. When you login with those credentials, you can download and install Office Professional Plus.

Activation

Unlike retail versions of Microsoft Office, Office Pro Plus is activated, automatically over the Internet. That means you have no keys to manage or keep. If you need to install it on a system, just login to the Office 365 Portal, download, and install.

When you run the Office Pro Plus setup, you'll be asked to provide your Office 365 credentials. Then the Office 365 Setup utility will prepare your system so it can communicate with the Office 365 services. This allows your system to automatically connect to Office 365 services specifically built for Office Professional Plus in order to verify that you still have an active subscription. Once validated, OPP installs on your system.

Behind the scenes, Office Professional Plus will check in with Office 365 services to insure you're still an active subscriber and to make sure that you have not installed Office on more than five devices. If you can't connect to the Internet, it will keep trying until the subscription is verified. In the meantime you can keep using Office.

Eventually, though, you do need to connect to Internet to insure compliance. After 60 days without connecting to Office 365, Office Pro Plus will enter a "reduced functionality" mode. You will be able to open, documents, but not use most features. If this happens to you for some reason, you can reactive Office by opening a command window or typing one of the following commands into the Run dialogue box:

  • OSAUI.exe /K - reactivates the Office 365 account associated with the password previously entered.
  • OSAUI.exe /F - reactivates a different Office 365 account.

If you have multiple users, you can deploy Office Professional Plus from a network share, or use other managed deployment options for larger organizations. You can find specific details on these options on TechNet.

Bottom line

Office Professional Plus is available as a trial as part of the Office 365 E3 service. You can sign up for 30 days of access to Office 365 without cost or obligation and download Office Professional Plus as a part of the trial. Be advised, however, that if you do not go on to buy the subscription, you will need to uninstall Office Pro Plus.

In other words, do not overwrite or upgrade your existing version of Office with a trial of Office Professional Plus unless you plan to continue using the service as you will have to revert to a different version of Office after the trial.

In sum, the Office Professional Plus subscription is a new way to reduce your upfront costs for full-featured version of Microsoft Office. Under this plan you can keep your applications current and install Office on up to five devices per user. There is a lot of value here that deserves consideration.

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13 comments
oledave
oledave

A monthly debt to the MS money-go-round? No thank you.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Where is it stored locally or in the Cloud? If it's in the cloud who wants it there considering that wherever the servers are located could apply to extradite you to their country and charge you with Serious Criminal Offenses? When you have broken no laws in the country that you live in. Hardly a sensible option under those circumstances if you ask me. ;) Col

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

Microsoft Office for $12 monthly * 12 months = $144 annually. Libre Office for $0 monthly * 12 months = $0 annually Libre Office in Microsoft compatibility configuration does 95% of all things that the greatest majority of users want and need or, for that matter, will ever use. Yes, folks, there really are very good and viable alternatives readily available to compete with Micro$$.

Ray Baker
Ray Baker

Lets see, I buy Office 2010 for $100 use it for 3-4 years and then buy the next version (because of lack of support) and it costs me $100/3=$33/year. Or I can buy a subscription (Offered because Microsoft loves me) for $12x12months=$144/year! Now I can budget my monthly software costs! Microsoft made the math soooo much easier. Thanks! 97. Enough...is never enough. I have to wonder who TechRepublic represents?

PCcritic
PCcritic

that "purchasing" (or renting) software by subscription will primarily benefit Microsoft. Those people who would only purchase new software with, or for, new computers (perhaps every four or five years) would now be paying on a continual basis, and so would pay more than they would with the occasional purchase. The regular updates from this subscription service wouldn't necessarily give the users new, needed functionality except, perhaps, to overcome the incompatibilities that Microsoft regularly builds into its software updates.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

With the increasing use of cloud-based computing and software as a service, the concept of paying a subscription for your productivity software is not that far-fetched anymore. Do you see the benefits of acquiring software for your organization in this manner?

office365guy
office365guy

Having a monthly charge for services is a strong advantage for a lot of companies. One of the key complaints for many businesses is that it's hard to budget for IT since they cannot easily predict the costs of maintenance due to hardware failures and other expenses that are not in thier control. By converting to a monthly charge, they have compltely predictiable costs and reduce up front capital outlays.

office365guy
office365guy

Well, two things. Office Pro Plus, if that's what you're referring to, is installed locally on your computer just like you would normally install office. The only difference is that the you download the bits from Microsoft first, which is pretty typical anyway (say converting a trial to a paid version of Office for example). So no worries about being carted away and tried from crimes you didnt commit.

JBoutot
JBoutot

Yeah, but it's not Office Pro. It doesn't have Access, and until an alternative comes out with the ability to work with JET MDB's and Access ADP's, there is a small handful of us Micro$$ losers that will still need to use the "real" office.

office365guy
office365guy

If you can buy a version of Office 2010 that suits your needs for $100, then that's great. However, I can't find one so would appreciate a link. I woudl be very interested in an accurate cost comaparison. Keep in mind we are talking about Office Pro Plus 2010 and the right to install it on 5 devices. This is very helpful for businesses where people have latpops and desktops for example. So, to answer your question, The subsription benefits a lot of people.

JBoutot
JBoutot

$144 per year - and that includes 25 GB of Exchange Email hosting, I usually buy a new full version of office every time a new one comes out and it'll take about 3+ years at $12 per month to cover that. But I also pay for web hosting and exchange hosting, and now it's starting to look really good. But $12 per month doesn't appear to be an option on the comparison page - based on what I'm seeing there the cheapest subscription plan that includes Office 2010 Pro is $20 per month.

Skruis
Skruis

We are talking about the Professional Plus version and not Home or Home and Business so you're price comparison isn't 100% accurate. I'm not going to do the math (because I'd have to look up the price and I'm just a bit too lazy to do that) but I'll follow your end result which assumes that Microsoft profits increase with the subscription method vs the one and done method. So when comparing apples to apples, the price difference probably won't be so enormous and for different customers, a monthly budgest may appeal more than a one time bulk purchase which most businesses would have to get a loan for or finance in some way which essentially turns the purchase into a "monthly" payment anyways. Again, the plan doesn't suit everyone but I think it would be wrong to pass on it solely because Microsoft makes a little more money off of it. If you're going to pass on it, pass on it because it doesn't make sense for your particular business.

office365guy
office365guy

$12 a month is the stand alone price for the subscription. If you want it with Office 365 servcies, you need the E3 plan for $20. So add $8 per month for 25GB of email with all the bells and whistles of hosted exchange, plus SharePoint Online and Lync Online. If you dont want those, you can buy just Exchange Online for $4 per month.

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